The origins of the North British Locomotive Preservation Group can be traced back to 1990.
Its aims are-
- To promote interest in, and awareness of, the activities and products of the North British Locomotive Company.
- To acquire and repatriate surviving North British steam locomotives from around the world.
- To actively promote the construction of new locomotives to NBL designs and specifications.
- To encourage and assist the preservation of North British locomotives and artefacts by other groups and individuals.
- To provide a Forum for research and discussion on all matters related to the North British Locomotive Company.
In March 2008 the Group started research on the Manchester United steam locomotive project and are now in a position to move to the first phase of construction. One of the key elements to enable this decision was the recent discovery of more than 250 original North British Locomotive Company B17 drawings in the National Railway Museum at York. Without these it would have been very difficult to complete the locomotive.
An original LNER tender from a similar locomotive has been located in a Doncaster scrapyard and a replica B17 cab has been built to promote the project at enthusiast events.
A team to manage the project has been established and there are more than 100 members to support the project.
Based on the costings for the now completed A1 locomotive (60163 Tornado) the new Manchester United engine is expected to cost in the region of £1.8M to complete.
Suppliers have been identified and sourced prices for most of the required parts and are currently obtaining competitive quotes from several major engineering firms for construction of the locomotive.
In 2012 it was believed that it would be possible to build the locomotive within five years.
In February 2019 the directors of the project issued the following statement.
“No 61662 Manchester United is currently a full size “mock-up” representing the cab, boiler, smokebox and bufferbeam with a planned completion date of 2019. This representation does not include wheels, frames or motionat the present time. The mock-up includes an LNER Group Standard tender rescued from a scrapyard. Funding so far has predominantly been from Manchester United FC and their supporters.
When this representation is complete, there is the intention to seek support from Manchester United FC and its supporters by way of an appeal for funds in order to determine if an operational version could be produced.”
In November 2020 it was announced that the project to build steam locomotive 61662 had come to an end. It was stated that due to the Corvid-19 pandemic no work had been possible and that as the project was being undertaken in the open air the components of the locomotive had deteriorated. Some parts will be donated to the project to build 61673 Spirit of Sandringham.